Coach Steve Sarkisian emerged 15 minutes late. Finally. He was wearing the same sports jacket he'd worn in many living rooms, kitchens and driveways on the road putting together one of the most successful recruiting class in Washington Huskies history, at least over the past decade.
Lots of balance.
Lots of optimism.
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"A very complete class," the UW coach said. "One that can help us immediately."
Here is a position breakout, according to Sarkisian:
• QUARTERBACKSignee – Nick Montana, Oaks Christian High (Calif.).Analysis – Up front, Sarkisian said with a little more polish, Montana should be a serious player for the starting job in 2011 with Keith Price. "Nick is going to create his own legacy. I think that is why he chose the University of Washington," Sarkisian said.
• RUNNING BACKSignees – Deontae Cooper, Citrus Hill (Calif.); Jesse Callier, Warren High (Calif.).; Zach Fogerson, O'DeaAnalysis – The two leading rushers out of the state. Cooper projects to be a 225-pound tailback as a downhill runner. … Callier is not a straight-line rusher, but brings more versatility. … Fogerson brings a little more athleticism to the fullback position, especially as a pass-catcher.
• WIDE RECEIVERSignees – DiAndre Campbell, Oakland Tech (Calif.); Kevin Smith, Centennial High (Calif.).Analysis – Both great basketball players, and Sarkisian values their overall length. The coach called Smith a "young Terrell Owens" in terms of frame and sculpture.
• TIGHT ENDSignee – Michael Hartvigson, Bothell.Analysis – Another basketball player with nastiness. He played defensive end in high school. He'll gain another 25-30 pounds "in a blink," Sarkisian said.
• OFFENSIVE LINESignees – James Atoe, The Dalles-Wahtonka High (Ore.); Mike Criste, Citrus Hill High (Calif.); Micah Hatchie, Waialua High (Hawaii); Erik Kohler, Oaks Christian (Calif.); Colin Porter, Bothell; Ben Riva, O'Dea; Colin Tanigawa, Loyola High (Calif.).Analysis – Tanigawa comes in as an interior linemen; the rest could end up being tackles. Became a huge emphasis after the Huskies did not sign any offensive linemen in 2009.
• DEFENSIVE LINEMENSignees – Andrew Hudson, Redlands Easy Valley High (Calif.); Hau'oli Jamora, Kahuka High (Hawaii); Lawrence Lagafuaina, Aiea High (Hawaii); Sione Potoa'e, Lakes High; Brent Williams, Taft High (Calif.).Analysis – This staff prefers the "three-technique," and nobody fits that mold better than Potoa'e, who is the big-man gem of this class. … At ends, Hudson and Jamora are formidable pass rushers who are good against the run.
• LINEBACKERSSignees – Victor Burnett, Culver City High (Calif.); Princeton Fuimaono, Long Beach Jordan High (Calif.); Garret Gilliland, Orange Lutheran High (Calif.); Cooper Pelleur, Skyline High; Darious Waters, Lakes High; Chris Young, Auburn High.Analysis – Another huge emphasis will be counted on to fill special-teams holes. Burnett is the real "get" in this group. His athleticism pops. … Fuimaono and Gilliland will come in as outside-linebacker recruits. … Pelleur, a late addition, could be another "Mason Foster" type who can man up on the tight end, Sarkisian said. … Waters and Young are two of the more physical players in the class.
• DEFENSIVE BACKSSignees – Gregory Ducre, Crenshaw High (Calif.); Jamaal Kearse, Lakes High; Sean Parker, Narbonne High (Calif.); Taz Stevenson, Mililani High (Hawaii); John Timu, Long Beach Jordan High (Calif.).Analysis – Ducre is the lone cornerback – one that Sarkisian surmises is a "lockdown, shutdown" cover guy. He's also a track guy. … Parker was the signing-day blessing, choosing the Huskies over Michigan and Southern California. His ability to cover all ends of the field, in zone and man-to-man, plus his run-support skills, make him arguably the UW's top prospect. … Coming off a knee injury, Timu will "greyshirt" and enroll next January.
Some other notes:• Montana, Collier and Burnett are enrolling at the UW in March. Cooper is already in school in Seattle.
• The Huskies did end up losing three recruits to Oregon, including a pair of committed athletes in safety Keanon Lowe and kicker Alejandro Maldanado. Brighton High's Ricky Heimuli chose the Ducks on signing day.
• About who could see immediate playing time, Sarkisian gave a usual diplomatic response – with some sound reasoning. "Where we are, (we) can't go into any house and say, 'Hey, you're redshirting.' Right now all these guys are coming to compete, and play."
• Sarkisian is a great recruiting closer, but the two primary set-up assistants were Johnny Nansen (recruiting coordinator) and Demetrice Martin (cornerbacks coach). Both were the UW coach's first hires. "(I) hired them for one specific reason, and that was to recruit," Sarkisian said.
• Special teams returner is in need of a big upgrade. Sarkisian listed Callier as the one guy who could fill that spot, with Cooper, Smith and Parker as possibilities.
• Sarkisian said Pete Carroll's departure from Southern California had little or no effect on his ability to get other recruits.
• Gohuskies.com featured a live webcast of the Huskies' fax machine that the recruiters were sending their letters of intent to. That was the idea of Sarkisian and support staffer Jared Blank.